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SilverStormm

Behind Bars: Rookie Year

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Inmates are called convicts for good reason. Once inside, they have nothing but time to conjure up ingenious ways to hide contraband and manipulate COs. Mangin gets conned by a career criminal and Andrew helps STIU bust a drug dealing gang member. Ariel deals with the challenges of being a female CO.

 

Edited by jenh526

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I wish that the editors would figure out that white script on the black and white background means that you have to guess what have the subtitles are.

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Agree about the subtitles - they were hard to read in the last episode. One thing I was wondering about from this episode - when they found the Sureño gang member in level II, they said they were going to put him with his gang - isn't that the last thing you'd want to do? I'd think you'd want to separate them as much as possible.

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I can't believe how disrespectful the inmates are to the officers. That doesn't happen on other prison shows without consequences.

 

You mean other prison documentaries? I know that the state pen here made a lot of reforms after the 1980 riot. They emphasize treating the inmates as human beings, so this may be a consequence of allowing them more freedoms. The CO turnover rate must be pretty high though.

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They try to group prisoners together with their own kind to avoid conflict.

 

Does seem like there would be a LOT more "scheming" that way, but better than constant fights and death.

 

Wonder if Ariel will last at this job. She is just SO tiny. Seems like at any time, any of the convicts could just overpower her and from what they have shown, she doesn't exactly have a ton of backup just waiting to help.

 

Man, just seems like there are a lot better jobs out there for someone like her. Can only imagine the comments she has to deal with...definitely have a lot of respect for her. She is braver than I am and I am a fairly large guy.

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I can believe it. You are talking about career criminals vs the people who are being paid to curtail both their freedom and their enterprises.

I can also understand how the CO turnover rate is high. Not only to you have to deal with dangerous r people you have to do it in an enclosed space where you are badly outnumbered.

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I've been on a tour of the old part of the prison where the riot took place. It started by several of the inmates overpowering a couple of guards. Although 33 people were murdered during the riot, making it one of the most violent in US history, none of the victims were guards (they went after the snitches). I think the inmates know that if another riot were to take place, they themselves would be the most likely victims, and so maybe they know it's not in their best interests to start something like that. Anyway, the tour leader had been a CO himself and he did say something about having something similar to a panic button - if you pressed it, you would have a squad of about 30 COs at your assistance. He said he'd only had to use it twice in 10 years. Another interesting thing about the tour - there was a former inmate also on the tour who had been incarcerated during the riot. He said he escaped through a window that a friend of his had cut through. My friend asked how they were able to cut through the metal and he basically responded "where there's a will, there's a way." Anyway, that may seem to some like a morbid thing to do, taking a tour of a prison, but the proceeds actually go to what they call programming - creating programs for inmates that help to socialize them with the aim of effectively reintegrating them into the community, and reduce the rate of recidivism (which is I think around 50%). Still, it can't be easy as a CO to deal with the head games the inmates play with you, or the actual violence when one decides to jump you for fun.

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I haven't seen this show before. 

 

So there's the guy who looks for contraband every day for weeks and never finds any.  The guy who doesn't notice a relatively large cordless phone in a rather small laundry bag.  And Ariel, who strikes me as a giant red frantically waving flag. 

 

As noted above, Ariel's tiny.  And I doubt she's had the training to overcome that disadvantage because she clearly hasn't had enough training in other areas.  When the inmate kept asking about her age, for example, she was sort of coy and evasive instead of shutting that personal shit down.  She smiles, she's friendly; she talks in her high, sweet little voice about her dimples and repeatedly refers to herself as "a girl."   Mentally, emotionally, physically--this person does not seem like prison guard material to me.

 

The female CO who spoke to Hawkins about the phone was professional and badass:  "You knew the rules.  You screwed up.  These are the consequences."  <boom, walks away>

 

.

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Man, just seems like there are a lot better jobs out there for someone like her. Can only imagine the comments she has to deal with...definitely have a lot of respect for her. She is braver than I am and I am a fairly large guy.

 

 

The sad truth is that today, there aren't a lot of jobs for someone like her, without a college degree (even with one today) that pay enough.  I have a good friend whose husband became a correction officer in his late forties.  He'd worked for years but had no pension and she's disabled so she can't work full time.  They need a pension, so what to do?  

 

Ariel said that she was in college but couldn't afford it so she went to work at Enterprise; then she said her brother was working as a correction officer and was making good money, more than she was making.  

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Very good point.

 

I can't imagine she took that job thinking it would be fun and rewarding.

 

I just shudder to think of what one of those convicts would do to her if given the chance and with her size, not sure she could do much to stop it.

 

But I am sure she is VERY aware of the dangers and it really does show courage to do that job as a small woman. Hell, even the average size guy who quit said he was scared.

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Violence is a way of life in prison and the threat of it keeps both COs and inmates on constant alert.  Zach investigates a fight while Keith deals with unstable and violent inmates. Ariel is a "rover" wrestling with the uncertainty that comes with the job. And PNM's tragic past, which includes the bloodiest prison riot in American history, acts as both a haunting reminder and a catalyst for change.

Edited by jenh526

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I find this show fascinating and I am surprised more people on this group don't watch it. Then again j guess I am not. No one to make fun of. Just highly admirable guards and different degrees of scary and yet strangely fascinating inmates. Like the one in the mental fascility who was extremely self aware. If I didn't know better I wouldn't have realized he had mental problems. I guess there is no Arkam.

Edited by Chaos Theory
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I agree, this is a very fascinating show!

 

No scripted drama (that I can tell) like 95% of other reality shows...

 

I did see a commercial that it is doing over 1 million viewers, which is decent for A&E I suppose.

 

I also agree with the "scary and yet strangely fascinating inmates" statement.  There is a part of me that would just like to sit down and talk with some of them. But the other part of me wouldn't want to be in the same building as them.

 

The one guy with the huge mustache, he seems like he knows what he does is bad, he just can't help it. I sense a LITTLE remorse in his voice. While I don't necessarily have sympathy for him, I feel bad he will probably never fit in to society.

 

And then you have guys like the one in the first episode that was released. The one that basically taunted one of the rookies to quit. The guy who was hiding his smoking. The entire system is just a game to him. You can tell by his attitude, he will DEFINITELY spend most of his life in jail.

 

Again, fascinating people...

 

I am guessing this is more or less replacing Beyond Scared Straight since they had the series finale for that last night.

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During the promos for this episode that showed Ariel up in the tower, I epwas like "FINALLY, they put the tiny woman up there where she could still be of use but not be surrounded by forty something inmates (those scenes just made my blood run cold). But nope, apparently the tower is just one place she spends time as a Rover. Good God, I don't know if understaffing, affirmative action, or what is at work here, but she is like a lamb in there being circled by wolves.

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Most of PNM's inmates are serving long-term sentences for violent crimes, and for many it's drugs that help them get through the time. Despite efforts to keep the prison clean, narcotics always find their way into this otherwise closed world. Francisco suspects an inmate is high while Andrew takes inmates on a high-risk work detail outside of the prison. And new CO Bruce struggles under the weight of high expectations.

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I get a kick out of the white STIU officer who lapses into Hispanic street-speak when he's talking to the inmates. I find myself doing that sometimes, depending on who I'm talking to - it's easy to pick up the accent and inflections. I guess it probably makes him more relatable on the inside.

 

I'd be nervous taking prisoners into the Hyde Park area. There's nothing but forest around for miles. I'd think it would be easy to escape into the woods and have someone pick you up down the road. But on the other hand, there's only one road so setting up a roadblock would probably be easy too. I've walked past inmate work crews in my building and never had an issue. It's interesting to see how cagey these inmates can be - it's like you have to watch them every second. I also never realized how much junk some of these guys accumulate in their cells. Must make it hard to sort through everything.

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If the park bathroom/drug story wasn't scripted and the producers really rolled on the rookie, they had better hope they have all the seasons they want already in the can.

There is "scripted" and cut into a manageable and interesting story. You can have all the rookies running around doing nothing all day or you can tell a meaningful story about their lives that shows how dangerous their work is. This is more a documantary then a "Reality" program with manufactured drama. I think the drama is very real...if not quite in order.

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I was kind of confused as to why the camera guy didn't IMMEDIATELY tell the officer about the inmate making all those hand gestures...he was filming it, so he obviously saw it.

 

What if it was a weapon that was going to be hidden in the bathroom and the hand gestures indicated its a "go", to go ahead and plant it so they could overtake the officer (and the cameramen)?

 

Obviously far fetched, but again, not sure why the cameramen wouldn't immediately say something...better to be safe than sorry. Which is why I think it might have been a "reenactment" as the reality shows love to call it nowadays...a "this CAN sometimes happen" type thing.

 

But wow, I am honestly amazed how much freedom they give those inmates. Talk about an easy escape if they wanted to. Guessing they only use inmates that will be released soon so there is less motivation to try and run.

 

As far as the white officer and how he speaks, heh, I am a white guy that grew up in a 90% Hispanic neighborhood, so guess I can relate. We all mostly spoke the same way growing up. You kind of just adapt to your surroundings. It is actually kind of funny, even in my 40's I still sometimes curse in Spanish.

Edited by Jenkins
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I think Keith Pallesen (the CO that works the psych unit) is my favorite. Seems like a no-nonsense guy. Tough but also kind. I can see him staying with it in the long-term. Also like the one with the glasses - he seems smart.

 

I'm rooting for Andrew but he seems like he's struggling to find that middle ground.

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I was kind of confused as to why the camera guy didn't IMMEDIATELY tell the officer about the inmate making all those hand gestures...he was filming it, so he obviously saw it.

 

 

He may not have seen it right away or understood what it meant.  Like an earlier episode with the inmate who was hiding cigarettes the cameraman might not have known what he had shot and was only noticed when the producer watched it through later that day.  

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I had no idea there was a topic for this show. So late to the party.

 

I agree about the park scene and the camera guy not saying anything to the officer about what the hand signals and gestures. I thought maybe they are not to get involved in any way. But then, someone must have told the superior officers something because how did they then know about what went down and the need to review the tape? Why say something then and not earlier? So confusing.

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I am shocked there are not a lot of posts for this show. It is fascinating to watch. Right up my alley. I once pursued a career as a correctional officer.

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Yeah, I am not sure why there aren't more posts in this forum either.

 

Apparently this show did decent ratings, so people watched it.

 

I loved the show and was kind of sad last night was the finale. Hopefully they bring it back soon.

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I had to laugh a few times during the series when they'd try to build up the dramatic tension with the music and then... nothing. Which of course means they're doing a good job - boring is good in corrections, I suppose. I still enjoy the psychological/sociological aspect of it though.

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I'm watching the newest episode, where they have the 5'0 102-lb Minnie Mouse-speaking rookie, who doesn't want to think of the inmates as "Bad Guys" and everyone is leering at her, and grabbing their crotches.  WT Hell is she DOING as a prison guard with MEN?  She is gonna get herself killed!

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5 minutes ago, Brattinella said:

I'm watching the newest episode, where they have the 5'0 102-lb Minnie Mouse-speaking rookie, who doesn't want to think of the inmates as "Bad Guys" and everyone is leering at her, and grabbing their crotches.  WT Hell is she DOING as a prison guard with MEN?  She is gonna get herself killed!

The other CO's would have to see her as a liability. In addition to worrying about inmates attacking them, they have to be on the lookout to make sure Little Miss doesn't get jumped and ass raped? 

Just because you can pass the civil exam doesnt  mean you need to take the position.

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And she was complaining that they stuck her in a protected job.  She wants excitement!  I do hope she doesn't take anyone else down with that attitude!  She doesn't look in shape at all.  Wrong place to work.

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She could be good at her job if she'd stand up straight and write the biggest, loudest guys up. Staring at the floor, hunched over, silent is not the look you want in that environment. I can't believe the giant trainer guy let her get away with that.

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1 hour ago, Soobs said:

She could be good at her job if she'd stand up straight and write the biggest, loudest guys up. Staring at the floor, hunched over, silent is not the look you want in that environment. I can't believe the giant trainer guy let her get away with that.

She might be good at doing a head count and searching bunks. Her tiny ass would give me no relief if she is who they sent in for back up.  If some shit really popped off in there Lilly would be of little help breaking up a fight or getting an inmate off of you. 

There's something to be said for brute strength and a lot of this new crop would do well to eat some rice and beans to help bulk up.

Edited by Brooklynista
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This show . . . I don't know . . . I can't stream anything and I'm desperate for something to watch on tv.

Agree about the petite woman.  "Equality in hiring" does not cover putting a hundred pounder (of either sex, really) into a job where brute strength might mean the diff in life or death.

I was moved by the young guy who gave up his rodeo scholarship to be a new baby-daddy.  It was quite poignant to show him riding his horse around in the wide open spaces and then walking into the claustrophobia of the concrete, barred, locked down, prison venue.  Wrap that thing, guys.  Use two.

 

That's all I got, except:  gangs are SCARY.

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Just watched episode three and I really hope that the administration fires Lilly and the kid who let the prisoners into the guard's area where they removed paperwork! Even the people who work for the show were shocked. Showing that while telling the story of the riot where informers were killed after the guard's area was broken into was really scary.

These kids cannot stand up to these guys and @Brooklynista, you're right! Their lack of strength (emotional and physical) is going to get someone hurt. They are not cut out for this. When the creepy, criminal in the cell said in a low voice to Lilly, "gang bang, behave" my jaw dropped. Write that fucker up! And she did nothing because she's scared. She should be but not confronting them isn't going to magically protect her either. The other woman that had been there awhile was so much more suited for the job. She was a little older, spoke in a commanding voice and looked like she could take some of these guys down or at least put up a good fight. This show is nuts. It's so much better than those Lock Up Extended Stay shows.  

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I doubt most of these kids could successfully be a file clerk, let alone herd hardened criminals.

Lilly gets more ridiculous each week. She can't even count and looks like she'd be overwhelmed by a subway map. Who in good conscience hires these children?

Their safety appears to rely mainly on the good graces/self-control of the inmates. So much for post riot change.

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I'm sorry I missed it this week.  They let INMATES into the guard's room?  OMG!  They hadn't been told the history of that prison??  Both of them need to be fired, pronto.

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Just wanted to add that if a Lilly type does get hurt in this ridiculousness, she goes out on a medical leave and possibly permanent disability, which we pay for, of course. 

 

This prison really is a model for government waste and uselessness, guards and inmates alike.

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Trying to be politically correct, putting a woman (100-lb 5'0 woman) into that position could be a fatal mistake.  I think the DOC is really reaching, even if she IS female and Latina, she can't (and DOESN'T) handle the job correctly.

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On 9/16/2016 at 6:03 PM, Brattinella said:

Trying to be politically correct, putting a woman (100-lb 5'0 woman) into that position could be a fatal mistake.  I think the DOC is really reaching, even if she IS female and Latina, she can't (and DOESN'T) handle the job correctly.

I agree, but here's the REAL sad thing.  She said that before she took the CO job, she was working in a supermarket.  I can't judge her.  I was lucky in my life, I went to college when it was doable on a working class salary and got out with zero debt, and then started working immediately.  Today college isn't even doable on a middle class salary and even after college, there's no guarantee that you'll find a job.

For many of these kids being a CO is the only job around that offers benefits and good pay.  I don't think most of them should be CO's either.  Sure, they could go to a junior college and then maybe have to leave their city or even state to find a job.  Not everybody thinks like that. 

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On September 23, 2016 at 10:48 AM, Brattinella said:

 

Her benefits and good pay won't be worth a farthing if she is murdered on the job. 

 

I agree, but try telling that to someone working a minimum wage job with no chance of advancement.  More people than we'd like to think would take that chance.

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Agreed, and I don't blame her for aspiring to that job, but I would also like to be President, however, it doesn't make me qualified.  If they want to leave her in the mail room or the parking lot, I'm sure she can handle it, but anything else...doubtful.  Even if we forget her small stature for a minute, she doesn't even have the attitude, she is way too shy and timid.  I didn't really think Ariel last season was a great fit, but at least she had presence...poor Lily seems like she is constantly about to cry.  

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I enjoyed seeing last seasons' Ariel in her element for a few clips. She no longer has the wide eyed naïveté of Lilly, she looked totally bad ass. Her face seemed harder, like, don't mess with me convicts! Hope to see more of her. Purto is setting himself up to get assaulted again. He's over reaction at the STIU orientation day really annoyed Davis. Chaz is so nervous trying to live up to his dad's name. Hopefully he gets better. Cabarro is not a good multitasker. His Captain said via walkie to check the convicts left sock. How did he miss that? Next week looks good. 

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Thankfully no Lilly this week.  She is so awkward and uncomfortable to watch, and Fabian is a close second.  They both seem like they are afraid of their own shadows.  Israel doesn't really seem cut out for this either, but Lilly and Fabian have no business being anywhere near the inmates.   

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I find it sad that so many of them have no business being CO's (Fabian and Lilly come to mind),  but are there probably because it's the best job they can find.  Maybe where they live it's either be a CO or work a minimum wage job; just like Israel said a state job is a huge step up for him.  

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